janeiro 27, 2006

Bechtel Drops $50 Million Claim to Settle Bolivian Water Dispute

SAN FRANCISCO, California, January 19, 2006 (ENS) - Bechtel, a global engineering and construction company based in San Francisco, today reached agreement with the government of Bolivia, dropping a legal demand for $50 million after a revolt over privatizing water services in the city of Cochabamba forced the company out of Bolivia in April 2000. Bechtel and its chief co-investor, Abengoa of Spain, had been seeking $25 million in damages and $25 million in lost profits in a case filed before a World Bank trade court, the International Centre for Settlement of
Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Following four years of international public protest aimed at the companies, Bechtel and Abengoa agreed to abandon their case for a token payment. "Multinational corporations want to turn everything into a market," said Oscar Olivera, a leader in the Bolivian water revolt. "For indigenous people water is not a commodity, it is a common good. For Bolivia, this retreat by Bechtel means that the rights of the people are undeniable."

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